At age 18, Chris Wootton gave up on tennis.
"I never intended to pick up a racquet again," said Wootton. "Burned out on competition all the way around."
Nearly 20 years later, Wootton has returned to the court. No, he's not a coach. He's actually older than his coach. At 37 years young, Wootton is expected to be a key player on the nationally ranked UT Tyler men's tennis team.
"He's (Wootton) a lot of fun to have around," said UT Tyler senior Doug Kierstead. "He has more energy than we do."
Wootton says everyday on the tennis court is a gift. A transfer from Mississippi College, he went 10 years without touching a tennis racquet.
Things changed in 2010. He returned to school and dropped more than 50 pounds.
"There was a lot of pain, struggle, smiles and frowns, tears here and there," said Wootton. "It's been a great ride."
Wootton says the ride was inspired by his 16 year old daughter. She's only a couple years younger, than some of her dad's new teammates.
"We're going to see if we can get him a senior discount," said Kierstead.
Kierstead says the team jokes about Wootton's age. But he's always a good sport.
"A lot of times they'll come out with the old man jokes and I'll beat them to it," said Wootton.
Punch line or not, Wootton takes the court everyday with a smile.
A role model for his teammates and his daughter.
"That not only can she follow her dreams," said Wootton. "But she has somebody showing her how to follow dreams."
Copyright 2014 KLTV. All rights reserved.